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Water UK and Friends of the Earth call on Government to act on tree planting

Water UK has partnered with Friends of the Earth to call on the Government to do more to promote tree planting in England.

The two organisations have written to Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment, to call for the introduction of targets to increase tree planting across the country. The letter urges the Government to use the England Tree Strategy to set a target to double England’s tree cover.

The Strategy, due to be published later this year, will set out the Government’s forestry policy until 2050 and aims to ensure that trees are established and managed to deliver multiple benefits for people and the environment.

The two organisations have also set out a number of practical steps they want the Government to take in order to encourage and incentivise woodland creation, including:

  • Providing an income to landowners who plant trees on farmland at an attractive rate for uptake
  • Changing the presumption not to plant trees in national parks, and allow for natural regeneration in the uplands
  • Investing in nurseries and growing the native tree supply line in the UK
  • Ensuring a step change over the short term by directly funding planting costs to generate an increase in tree planting this autumn

Water companies in England are playing their part to tackle climate change and enhance biodiversity and have committed to planting 11 million trees by 2030.

This is part of a wider commitment to improve the natural environment, including restoring other vital ecosystems such as peatland, as part of the industry’s goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions for the sector by 2030.

Read the full letter to Lord Goldsmith here.